True Grit Review

I go and get all pissed off at Jeff Bridges for Tron Legacy, and so he sings sweet nothings to me with True Grit. This movie is absolutely amazing.  Acting, story, tone and more; they are all note perfect.

First, the actors.  Let’s start with Mr. Bridges himself.  He takes over John Wayne’s role from the original True Grit: Rooster Cogburn.  He is a hard ass who has absolutely no problem with doing some impressionist painting with a man’s brains.  He has a higher alcohol content then Everclear.  And he is damn good at what he does.  Bridges plays this role exquisitely.  He is able to simultaneously be very intimidating and hilarious.  I would not normally see those two attributes as coexisting, but Bridges pulls it off so easily you would wonder how they could not go together.

Next is Matt Damon.  Damon plays Texas Ranger LaBoeuf (pronounced La-Beef in the film).  He is that guy who thinks that his title (Texas Ranger) makes him awesome, instead of the man making the title awesome.  He is always bragging about how capable he is (and the Rangers are), but never really lives up to the legend.

I must now talk about Hailee Steinfeld, who plays Mattie Ross.  This girl is 14 years old, and she is the true bad ass of this film.  She single-handedly makes Cogburn, LaBoeuf and many more her bitch.  She does not take no for an answer.  And I loved her the entire time for her courage, strength and wisdom.  Steinfeld deserves many awards nominations and all of the praise that she is receiving.  She owns this role, and consequently owns this movie.

These are the three main characters that we spend most of the film with.  But every single character in this film is a character.  Some you get to see for five minutes, some you only get to see for 30 seconds, but each and every one feels like a fully formed character.  I applaud the Coen brothers for writing the dialog and choosing and directing the perfect actors for each role.  You walk out of True Grit feeling like you know the shop owner, gang leader and the U.S. Marshall just as well as you know Mattie and Rooster.

Joel and Ethan Coen wrote and directed True Grit.  Apparently, they do not allow for any improvisation on set.  The actors must read the lines as written, there is no ad-libbing.  And thank Jebus for that.  This movie is simultaneously action packed and hilarious.  I found myself, and the audience around me, laughing out loud throughout this movie.  It just works perfectly.

I do not normally like Westerns.  I have enjoyed Tombstone, The Quick and the Dead and True Grit.  I recommend this movie to anyone.  There are some gruesome scenes, but they are played out realistically and happen very fast.  Most of this film is spent enjoying the budding relationship between Rooster, Mattie and LaBoeuf.  This is a fantastic movie.  Go see it.

Here is the trailer:

And just for fun, here is the original 1969 trailer (which seems to show the entire movie, fair warning):

Have you seen True Grit?  What did you think of it?  Let me know in the comments below.

~Ryan Lynch

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